By Suzannah Young
“Provocative, illustrative, different, visually aesthetic,” are the first words that freshman broadcasting and emerging media major Neymar Reed had on his mind after attending Illuminate, a production put on by Barry’s Department of Fine Arts on the weekend of Feb. 20.
Illuminate, described on the play’s flyer as, “the act of bringing light into or onto something” did exactly that. The production used powerful poetry, illustrative dancing, and heart-wrenching music to highlight a variety of issues faced by society.
These issues included childhood cancer, education inequalities, systematic oppression and the refugee crisis.
The play was directed by Elena Maria Garcia and featured the work of writers Taylor Mali, Dominique Christina, Denice Frohman and others. Illuminate was held in a closed off section of the Shepard & Ruth K. Broad Center for the Performing Arts. The limited audience members surrounded three sides of the stage, truly immersing themselves in the play.
Reed enjoyed all the performances, specifically pointing out a dance that intrigued him.
“One performance was really interesting because the cast came out slowly dancing to this song and forming a wall. One of the performers tried to cross the wall and was blocked,” said Reed.
“Then, the poem explained how if you want to change the world’s mind, you have to break one person’s boundary at a time. I really related to that.”
“It didn’t really matter how many poems or pieces [each cast member] had,” said Reed. “They were all equal and they all delivered their pieces in the most impactful way.”
Two of the acts were written by the cast members themselves.
“Woman” was a poem written by freshman Shanieya Harris, a Spanish language and literature major. Another poem, “Whose Money” was written by freshman Latiana Carter, who is studying fine arts, with a specialization in theater acting.
There was a truly impactful connection between each performance and the cast members, which highlighted the message of the production.
“The poems are powerful by themselves,” Reed said. “But what made the show was that the poems coincided perfectly with the performances.”
Illuminate’s small yet talented cast delivered a beautifully awakening insight to a set of social injustices undoubtedly faced by many Barry students in their everyday lives.
This production somehow took the ugliest aspects of American society and illuminated them in a pulchritudinous way, instilling an abundance of emotions in an audience, who left with nothing short of a fresh perspective and open heart.